Sprocket reports that the high-tech boom of the 1990s caused the price of coltan
to skyrocket to nearly $300 per pound.
The habitat of the gorillas has been adversely affected by the production of cell phones since it requires a dull metallic ore known as "Coltan
", which is largely found in eastern areas of the Congo.
The smuggled uranium discovered by Tanzanian customs agents was hidden in shipment of coltan
, a rare mineral used to make chips in mobile telephones.
We told in November how the forests were being bulldozed by mining firms collecting Coltan
, a precious mineral used in mobile phones.
So much of our way of life is based, even today, on the plunder of poorer nations, whether it is the coffee and sugar we consume, the oil we burn, or the coltan
in our mobile phones (raided during the recent genocide in the Congo).
They have formed an ever-changing web of alliances with local warlords and militias, and with the many foreign corporations--American, South African, European--eager to buy Congo's diamonds, gold, timber, copper, cobalt and columbium-tantalum, or coltan
, which at times has rivaled gold in price per ounce, is used in chips in cell phones and computers; eastern Congo has more than half the world's supply.
. The Rwandan government reaped $250 million in 1999-2000 by selling coltan
from mines in the Congo.
The foreign armies and rebel groups in the Congo steal diamonds, coltan
, gold, and timber and use the proceeds to finance the war and line the pockets of government officials and army officers.
As described in Dollars and Sense (July/August 2001), unfettered extraction of natural resources--oil, diamonds, and coltan
(an essential strategic mineral in night vision goggles, cellphones, play stations, and other high-tech gadgets)-- remains the major driving force behind U.S.
For instance, in an 18-month period between 1999 and 2000, the Rwandan army earned $250 million by trading coltan
(a metallic ore used in mobile phones, laptops, etc.) looted from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
A rare mineral ore, called coltan
, is at the root of these animals' demise.
The mineral columbite-tantalite, or coltan
as it's known, is vital to the computer industry, and 80% of the world's known reserves of coltan
are in the eastern Congo.